Category: Messages to the Community

Title: New Guidance for Wearing a Mask

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

Given the recent surge of positive cases in our community, the spread of more infectious variants locally and across the country and the latest research and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we write today to provide updated guidance on the University’s requirement to wear a mask on campus.

We strongly encourage all students, faculty and staff to wear, at a minimum, a surgical-style mask over their nose and mouth. In general, a surgical-style mask is a disposable face mask with an adjustable metal strip to provide a snug fit over your nose.

We have updated the University’s COVID-19 Mask Guidelines and the Georgetown University Community Compact to reflect this guidance. In addition, we have clarified that the Mask Guidelines and Community Compact apply to community members who are on campus or are participating in a University program or activity, regardless of location, and to students living in the Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall neighborhoods.

Free surgical-style masks are now available at entrances to University buildings staffed by public health screeners, residence hall entryways, on-campus testing sites, and at the rear entrance of GUTS buses. We encourage you to take a surgical-style mask and put it on before entering any University building.

Please wear your mask properly, making sure it fits snugly against your face. Last week, the CDC published this report that highlights the importance of a good fit in reducing transmission and exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. You can improve how your mask protects you by wearing a cloth mask over a surgical-style mask or by knotting the ear loops and tucking in the sides of a surgical-style mask. Although wearing a cloth mask is better than going maskless, current research suggests that wearing a cloth mask by itself is not as effective as wearing a surgical-style mask. Alternatively, you may choose to wear a KN95 mask, but you should not wear a cloth mask over it. 

Surgical-style masks should be replaced daily. Please dispose of your mask in a trash can when you are finished using it, and wash your hands.

If you are buying your own surgical-style masks, look for them to be designated as ASTM Level 2 or 3.

Please remain vigilant and continue to follow all health and safety guidelines, including wearing a mask, keeping at least six feet apart, avoiding indoor social gatherings, washing your hands frequently, respecting the requirement to quarantine and meeting testing commitments.

If you have questions, please refer to these frequently asked questions, or contact the University’s COVID-19 Helpline at 202-784-3510 (available 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ET Monday–Friday) or

Thank you for your flexibility, resilience, and dedication to our community’s safety over the course of the pandemic. It is critical that Every Hoya Everywhere do their part to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.


Robert M. Groves, Provost

Edward B. Healton, Executive Vice President of Health Sciences

William M. Treanor, Executive Vice President and Dean of the Law Center

Geoffrey S. Chatas, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer